Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

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Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by BasedBuzzed on Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:45 pm

Article: http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/10/hooking-up-when-youre-an-anti-rape-activist.html

Passage that has everyone going bananas: "She animatedly tells a story about a recent Tinder rendezvous: “One time, I agreed to meet with this guy at 8 or 9 at night. Before we met, I said to him, ‘This is the work I do, I know the chief of police ... so, don't try and get creepy; I know all my rights.’ And five minutes later, he was like, ‘Actually, I'm really not OK with how you just assume I'm a bad guy. And I get very bad vibes from that, so we shouldn't hang out anymore.’”

“I was in a rage. He was a total fuckboy about consent,” she said."

Much as I can imagine getting pissed at person number umpteenth thinking anti-rape activist=person who will call the cops when you sneeze without asking for consent first, I think the manner in which this is phrased leaves something to be desired of. Enthusiastic consent is about clearly defining your boundaries(which doesn't have to be robot style). Yes, nonverbal communication, asking beforehand and pulling back at (non)verbal no's works well, but "don't be creepy, I have connections" is always less than "I'm just coming over to hang, not for hanky-panky, and I need you to respect that." or variations thereof. Thoughts? Do tell if you think I am nitpicking or laying too much agency with the woman while absolving the dude of things he should implicitly understand anyway.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by Caffeinated on Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:33 pm

In the bit you quoted, I would just call that an example of a person (the guy) having good boundaries. Something she said gave him a bad vibe, so he changed his mind about hanging out. That's doing it right. Her followup comment that "he was a total fuckboy about consent" struck me as an example of someone getting angry about a boundary being drawn, which is uncool.

(Also, what does fuckboy mean in this context? It appears to be a generic insult, is that right? Can anyone enlighten me?)
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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by eselle28 on Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:38 pm

Neither of them are models of how to have this discussion, but most discussions on this topic will be imperfect because people are imperfect. I think her chief of police bit was awkward, but I also think that, "I know my rights," is a different and much stronger statement than, "I'm just coming over to hang, not for hanky-panky, and I need you to respect that." One is telling him something about her and how she'll react, and I suspect that's valuable information for her to relay, at least on a personal level. The other is basically asking him a question and doesn't touch on how she'll behave if he doesn't seek consent. I think it's also fine for him to not be very interested in meeting her because he doesn't like her phrasing, and I don't necessarily think it makes him a jerk about consent. His bit about being assumed to be a bad guy echoed too much internet griping for my taste, but that's just my personal reaction to his phrasing.

Ultimately, I suspect both of these people are better off that this meeting never happened. I suspect they'll each meet someone else who communicates more to their taste.


Last edited by eselle28 on Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by rj3 on Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:40 pm

She's missing the difference between the conventions of online shouting and actual one-on-one meatspace interpersonal communication.  By common online convention, you're "allowed" to assume any man is Schrodinger's Rapist and "not allowed" to say that not all men should be made to feel like rapists in waiting. There are good reasons for this - namely, it's almost always derailing.

However, that doesn't mean people have to put up with you IRL if you try to pull that with an individual. It's a big world out there with a lot of people you could date; the one who tells you up front that she has a hair trigger speed dial to law enforcement seems like more trouble than she could possibly be worth.

Imagine someone greeting you like that the first time you walked into their house. "I've been robbed before, so..."

Still, I feel for these activists and their trouble dating. I've read articles before from sex advice columnists and people who write about their private lives about how many people won't date them for fear of becoming article fodder. Many people value those who can keep their private and public lives separate, whatever the reason.

EDIT: Also, her sense of entitlement to the "fuckboy" is appalling. She is entitled to nothing, just like everybody else.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by Enail on Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:51 pm

I agree, Basedbuzzed, that "I know the chief of police, so don't try and get creepy" bit is weird and kind of icky? I find it strangely like the old trope of the over-protective dad warning his daughter's date not to get too handsy with her, it's a mindset of "you'd better not do that or you'll get in trouble," that doesn't really convey the same thing to me as "I work with an sexual violence-prevention group and consent is important to me, I'm not interested in anyone who's not on board with that," even though her reaction seems like she thinks they're equivalent.

I think fuckboy isn't a generic insult, from what I've seen it seems like it's the sort of guy who will bug a woman for nudes or be whiny about being turned down for a date or having to wear a condom, and maybe also someone who is generally kind of selfish and thoughtless and mildly demanding in non-sexual contexts, and I think specifically in terms of how they interact with women. I've never seen it used for women, and my guess is that it's a strongly gendered term.
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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by BasedBuzzed on Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:03 pm

As an aside, fuckboy is possibly a term that came from prison bottom(the fact that it got popularized via hiphop does not exclude that definition given how often the artists and their kin were tossed in the slammer by overpolicing):
http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2015/08/18/what_does_fuckboy_mean.html

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by PintsizeBro on Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:35 pm

In current use, I think a fuckboy is trying to be a male-gendered equivalent of "slut." Like a more sexually charged version of "douchebag," but not quite.

A brief summary of what Scrodinger's Rapist actually is: since rapists do, in fact, look like normal people, a woman's default reaction to being approached by a strange man in public will always be caution. That's it. It absolutely does not mean that literally every guy is a "potential rapist."

If you're going to meet up with someone from online, you've talked to them enough to have a baseline level of trust. At least enough trust to actually meet up with them, right? He isn't, or shouldn't be, still in the Schrodinger's Rapist category. If she thought the guy needed a warning ("I know the chief of police" is totally a warning), she didn't trust him enough to meet up with him.

He didn't like being warned and decided he didn't want to hang out with someone who didn't trust him. She wasn't happy with him setting that boundary, but he's just as entitled to his boundaries as she is to hers.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by rj3 on Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:15 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:In current use, I think a fuckboy is trying to be a male-gendered equivalent of "slut." Like a more sexually charged version of "douchebag," but not quite.

Have we finally found the male equivalent of "slut" that doesn't have the positive connotations of "player"?

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by eselle28 on Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:
If you're going to meet up with someone from online, you've talked to them enough to have a baseline level of trust. At least enough trust to actually meet up with them, right? He isn't, or shouldn't be, still in the Schrodinger's Rapist category. If she thought the guy needed a warning ("I know the chief of police" is totally a warning), she didn't trust him enough to meet up with him.

I thought her warning was cloddishly phrased, but I'm not really on board with this idea that trust is a binary and that you have to be all the way to, "Yes, I trust this person," before you meet them. If that was the standard, I think most women and a lot of men would need to opt out of online dating and meeting people at bars entirely and stick to dating their friends. There are a lot of men I've trusted to meet in public but not private. There are some men I've trusted enough to go over to their homes when I'm sober and driving my own car, but who I wouldn't invite over to my place or accept a ride from or get drunk around yet. Hell, if a guy does come over to my place, that doesn't usually mean I'm okay with him hanging out there all day while I'm at work the way a boyfriend might. I might trust that last guy with my body, but not be sure how I feel about him interacting with my possessions and my pets.
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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by Guest on Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:03 pm

BasedBuzzed wrote:Article: http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/10/hooking-up-when-youre-an-anti-rape-activist.html

Passage that has everyone going bananas: "She animatedly tells a story about a recent Tinder rendezvous: “One time, I agreed to meet with this guy at 8 or 9 at night. Before we met, I said to him, ‘This is the work I do, I know the chief of police ... so, don't try and get creepy; I know all my rights.’ And five minutes later, he was like, ‘Actually, I'm really not OK with how you just assume I'm a bad guy. And I get very bad vibes from that, so we shouldn't hang out anymore.’”

“I was in a rage. He was a total fuckboy about consent,” she said."

Much as I can imagine getting pissed at person number umpteenth thinking anti-rape activist=person who will call the cops when you sneeze without asking for consent first, I think the manner in which this is phrased leaves something to be desired of. Enthusiastic consent is about clearly defining your boundaries(which doesn't have to be robot style). Yes, nonverbal communication, asking beforehand and pulling back at (non)verbal no's works well, but "don't be creepy, I have connections" is always less than "I'm just coming over to hang, not for hanky-panky, and I need you to respect that." or variations thereof. Thoughts? Do tell if you think I am nitpicking or laying too much agency with the woman while absolving the dude of things he should implicitly understand anyway.  

So wait, did she say this to the dude in a text message or over the phone? Because I think this is one of those instances in not what you say but how you say it. That's what I think.

BasedBuzzed wrote:As an aside, fuckboy is possibly a term that came from prison bottom(the fact that it got popularized via hiphop does not exclude that definition given how often the artists and their kin were tossed in the slammer by overpolicing):
http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2015/08/18/what_does_fuckboy_mean.html

PintsizeBro wrote:In current use, I think a fuckboy is trying to be a male-gendered equivalent of "slut." Like a more sexually charged version of "douchebag," but not quite.

Honestly, take your pick, dudes.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fuck+boy

Anyway, all in all what I gather from this article the others linked here is you legit can't make anyone happy.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by Caffeinated on Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:46 pm

The Mikey wrote:Anyway, all in all what I gather from this article the others linked here is you legit can't make anyone happy.

A worrying thought, but IMO not true. The true thought is that you can't make everyone happy. But with a little luck and/or a little effort, you can make a smaller subset of people happy, which is enough.
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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by Guest on Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:59 pm

Caffeinated wrote:
A worrying thought, but IMO not true. The true thought is that you can't make everyone happy. But with a little luck and/or a little effort, you can make a smaller subset of people happy, which is enough.

Yes, I knew that much and I would certainly hope so. However the few I could make happy and who make me happy, those folks, they're the ones who I want to hang around.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by Xexyz on Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:00 pm

That article was pure MRA-bait.  And this thread frankly, feels a little bit like MRA-trolling.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by rj3 on Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:55 pm

Xexyz wrote:That article was pure MRA-bait.  And this thread frankly, feels a little bit like MRA-trolling.

That's a pretty low bar. It doesn't take much to bait MRAs.

However, this article touches on a few DNL/NL issues: difficult conversations, reading your audience, entitlement, tact. There are a lot of people out there who have things, rightly or wrongly, that they have trouble rolling out.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by JP McBride on Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:20 pm

BasedBuzzed wrote:Much as I can imagine getting pissed at person number umpteenth thinking anti-rape activist=person who will call the cops when you sneeze without asking for consent first,

I think he pegged her as someone who would get enraged if someone turned her down.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by PintsizeBro on Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:56 pm

eselle28 wrote:
PintsizeBro wrote:
If you're going to meet up with someone from online, you've talked to them enough to have a baseline level of trust. At least enough trust to actually meet up with them, right? He isn't, or shouldn't be, still in the Schrodinger's Rapist category. If she thought the guy needed a warning ("I know the chief of police" is totally a warning), she didn't trust him enough to meet up with him.

I thought her warning was cloddishly phrased, but I'm not really on board with this idea that trust is a binary and that you have to be all the way to, "Yes, I trust this person," before you meet them. If that was the standard, I think most women and a lot of men would need to opt out of online dating and meeting people at bars entirely and stick to dating their friends. There are a lot of men I've trusted to meet in public but not private. There are some men I've trusted enough to go over to their homes when I'm sober and driving my own car, but who I wouldn't invite over to my place or accept a ride from or get drunk around yet. Hell, if a guy does come over to my place, that doesn't usually mean I'm okay with him hanging out there all day while I'm at work the way a boyfriend might. I might trust that last guy with my body, but not be sure how I feel about him interacting with my possessions and my pets.

Fair point. I think we agree more than we disagree, really. I definitely know a few guys who I'll have sex with, but wouldn't want alone in my apartment. Mostly what I was getting at is, I'm not really getting how calibrated her trust-dar is. Given the title of the article and her follow-up comment calling him a fuckboy, I assumed that sex was on the table for them before he changed his mind. And I think someone who's still in the "needs an explicit warning" category doesn't belong in the "trust with your body" category.

If the roles were reversed (in that the guy put his foot in his mouth and the girl changed her mind about getting together), people would probably be defending the guy with the old, "He's just socially awkward!" line. And maybe she was just awkward. But being awkward means sometimes you're going to make other people uncomfortable.

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Re: Affirmative Consent and Phrasing

Post by rj3 on Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:52 pm

[quote="PintsizeBro"][quote="eselle28"]
PintsizeBro wrote:
If the roles were reversed (in that the guy put his foot in his mouth and the girl changed her mind about getting together), people would probably be defending the guy with the old, "He's just socially awkward!" line. And maybe she was just awkward. But being awkward means sometimes you're going to make other people uncomfortable.

That can go both ways. I've read those stories a million times before, and it's written so as to make the guy seem sympathetic as some careless phrasing snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. But the opposite is also well-represented: the date that goes very well until the other person lets slip something gross, retrograde or menacing. Both are classic sitcom tropes. Finding interesting ways for dates to fail depending on perspective is a good way to have an adventure with a punchline that returns everyone to the status quo ante after 22 minutes.

And the incident described in the article could have been a "just socially awkward" moment if she didn't tack on the "fuckboy" comment. Instead of having a sympathetic case of a presumably bad guy who couldn't handle being with an activist for all the wrong reasons, we have a twist! Now, it's a person who covers up her massive sense of entitlement under a thin patina of politics, not really hiding the entitlement but trivializing the politics. It's really amazing how that one line completely muddied up what you take away from the article. I found the added complexity to be an admirable choice on the part of the author.

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